Ready for an ecommerce funnel that’s more dynamic, personalized, and creates a better overall customer experience. Meet the ecommerce quiz funnel.
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The days of the linear funnel are over.
Ecommerce brands don’t necessarily have the pretty and straightforward marketing funnel that you might see in a marketing textbook, where leads go in and customers come out. (Sidenote: check out this great post for more on ecommerce sales funnels).
Today I want to introduce a different type of funnel—one that can be more dynamic, personalized, and create a better overall customer experience.
Meet the Ecommerce Quiz Funnel. That’s right, quizzes.
Now, before you think of the whimsical BuzzFeed-type personality quiz, let’s get this straight: things are changing dramatically in the ecommerce world.
The genesis of these changes was ultimately for the benefit of consumers—to protect data privacy and create a better consumer experience. Fair enough.
But now marketers are left without the data and tools that have historically been essential to creating a high-growth ecommerce brand.
This is why it’s more important than ever to capture data directly from customers. And this is where a quiz comes into play.
The flexible application of an ecommerce quiz
You may have seen quizzes in high-growth ecommerce brands such as Stitch Fix, IPSY, ThirdLove, and many other direct-to-consumer brands. There are a variety of use cases for quizzes, whether it’s a product recommendation, fit finder, gift recommendation, or a personalized routine or product for the end-user.
The quiz can be a powerful tool at every stage of the marketing funnel. This applies to building awareness at the top of the funnel, helping shoppers learn more about the product in the middle of the funnel, and actually making a significant impact on the likelihood of conversion at the bottom of the funnel.
At each step, you’re using the quiz to create a better shopping experience. At the same time, you’ll be able to capture key customer insights that can help you continually improve the customer experience.
Consumers expect a personalized shopping experience these days. They’re willing to share their personal data in order to receive that, but the expectation is that they receive value in exchange.
The challenge that most marketers struggle with, however, is delivering on that promise of personalization.
This is the customer experience gap—customer expectations are simply not met in terms of customer experience or personalization.
Luckily, ecommerce quizzes are perfect for filling that gap.
What is an ecommerce quiz?
An ecommerce quiz is simply a series of questions that a brand asks their customer in order to learn more about them.
Along the way, the brand will capture a lead—either an email or phone number for SMS marketing. Ideally at the end, they’ll offer a personalized recommendation.
It’s the equivalent of having a shopping concierge on your site. The only difference is that this shopping concierge is available 24/7 and can be built with both customer needs and your needs in mind.
Ultimately, a successful quiz is about an exchange of value—consumers sharing their challenges, preferences, goals, and interests, in exchange for the promise of a better shopping experience in the future. This can be in the form of product recommendations, personalized campaigns and offers, and more relevant messaging.
The stages of an ecommerce quiz funnel
Top of funnel: build awareness
Quizzes can be a great hook to capture attention amidst the noise of paid ads.
By its very nature, a quiz invokes curiosity and discovery: answer a few questions, and learn something about yourself at the end. And you know that we all love to learn about ourselves!
For example, Trade Coffee showcases their quiz as the path towards discovering award-winning coffee from the best roasters in the United States:
Positioning itself as “the Netflix of coffee” conveys the simplicity of discovery: complete the quiz and get matched with a new coffee that you’ll love. It’s a simple process, which is the main benefit that Trade offers:
Once a consumer clicks through on an ad, the quiz is straightforward in learning about customer tastes, preferences, and coffee habits. These are all very important data points to ensure that Trade sends beans that a customer will love with every single shipment:
Another example of using a quiz as a hook for a paid advertisement is from Rockets of Awesome, a subscription kids clothing brand.
This ad piques curiosity with the phrase, “What’s in your box?” The quiz is the first step to establishing the taste preferences of the box’s recipient.
Also note that Rockets of Awesome immediately addresses customer objections right in the ad: What if I don’t like the recommendations? How long will I have to be committed? How much is shipping?
By addressing all of these questions upfront, Rockets of Awesome reduces the anxiety of clicking through and learning more about what could be in a “magically delivered” box.
Rockets of Awesome and Trade Coffee are both subscription brands featuring an obligatory quiz in the onboarding process.
But a quiz can be used to drive clicks from Facebook to your site. Here, for example, is CYSM Shapers, which uses their quiz to help potential customers learn about shapers.
There are a few different ways that CYSM Shapers uses the quiz to hook shoppers, with a discount and catchy appeal to beauty—“Stay Gorgeous in Any Outfit”:
And for those who are brand new to a shaper and need guidance (“Not sure where to begin?”), a quiz is a great jumping-off point. It serves as a way for the customer to both learn about the brand and get acquainted with the product—shapers in this case:
As mentioned earlier, not everybody has the same experience with a brand. A quiz can uncover specifics that might be helpful in the buying process once they arrive on the homepage.
Let’s take a look at how CYSM Shapers showcases their quiz in two places above the fold on their homepage:
CYSM Shapers identifies which problems the customer is facing, from their style preferences to use cases to sizing.
From there, the brand offers a recommendation at the end, while also capturing an email in the process:
Vitamin brand Care/of similarly focuses on the quiz on their homepage. You can see that the call-to-action clearly centers around taking the quiz:
One explicit benefit of a quiz is to streamline the process of finding the product that you’re looking for.
For example, walk into Sephora and you can browse the items in the aisle or speak with a sales associate who can recommend products based on your needs.
But when shopping online, where a user is left to their own devices, product discovery is a far more delicate challenge.
A frustrated user will quickly bounce from the shopping experience and not convert if they can’t find the product they’re looking for or solve the problems that they need help with.
Winky Lux addresses this problem with a quiz. The brand has products geared towards skincare, lips, face, eyes, and more. The store’s options can easily become overwhelming, which is why Winky Lux highlights the quiz on the homepage:
And similarly, men’s brand, Beardbrand, features a quiz on the top of their homepage to address the specific challenge of buyers being overwhelmed. In fact, they’ve coined a unique term—“Scent confusion”—for the pain point of using too many products with non-matching fragrances. The quiz serves the sole purpose of learning about customers and recommending an appropriate product:
Similar to other products, the quiz asks about preferences and goals, and then captures an email in the process. Thus, it guides shoppers to the right product, captures email leads and accelerates list growth, and increases the likelihood of conversion by getting rid of “scent confusion”:
Key takeaway:The top of the funnel is important to drive awareness and help shoppers engage with the brand for the first time.
This is often a first impression of the brand. Therefore, learning about what customers are trying to accomplish and then positioning your brand to address those specific needs is a powerful outcome that a quiz can provide.
The interactive nature of a quiz lets you learn about your customers and then change course to hone in on their stated problems.
Seth Godin writes in This Is Marketing, “Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become.”
This is exactly where a quiz can help you identify who your customers seek to become, and how you can build the bridge to get them to their ideal destination.
Middle of Funnel: Educate Shoppers
The middle of the funnel is focused on educating customers about the problem and the product. At this point, shoppers are familiar with your brand, and are engaging in some way—this could be on your email list, following on social channels, or in some way receiving your marketing messages.
The goal here is to establish trust while positioning your product to solve their particular need. Shoppers have consumed some content, and are looking to learn more about your brand and product.
In the middle of the funnel, the quiz offers a channel to help a brand dig in and learn more about its customers.
One use case is to drive email subscribers to a quiz to learn more specifics about the customer. Beauty brand Glu sends its leads a link to the quiz in order to find the perfect skincare routine, personalized just for them.
The quiz promises the perfect match between the needs of the shopper and a product personalized to them.
After going through some of the questions, the routine is provided specifically for your needs. Here’s the recommendation page upon quiz completion, with recommendations based around combatting acne:
Men’s healthcare brand Hims promises to solve many problems that men deal with, like baldness. This consultation asks questions about where the customer’s needs are in terms of their hair loss problems.
In a customer journey that can be fraught with anxiety and fear, Hims is able to incorporate personalization (and empathy) in the quiz. Here, for example, the brand shares that millions of others are experiencing the same issue:
While completing the quiz, Hims educates customers about the process of hair loss, why it happens, and how Hims can provide the solution.
This act of educating customers is quite important, as Robert Cialdini notes in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Educating customers teaches them about the product and establishes the authority of the brand through expertise. This is one of the primary goals Betabrand would want to achieve in the middle of the funnel:
Hims also addresses potential customer objections to facilitate the conversion process. As customers go through the purchase process, questions of efficacy and commitment naturally come up. When a brand tackles these questions directly, it reduces potential concerns:
A quiz can help a brand understand where a customer is in the funnel by gauging interest and urgency. Of course, understanding these sentiments is far easier via in-person interactions, since an ecommerce experience doesn’t allow for as nuanced of an analysis.
That’s why it’s easiest to ask directly.
Vitamin brand Umzu gets an understanding of where their customers stand in the funnel by asking, “How dedicated are you?” This answer can help users self-select how important the vitamin is to them and how dedicated they are to achieving their goals with Umzu:
Here’s another example. The Farmer’s Dog sells high-end freshly prepared meals to dogs. The product is more expensive than the regular dried kibble that you might buy at your local supermarket. So at the start of their quiz, the dog food brand asks shoppers about their perception of fresh food for dogs:
For shoppers that believe that fresh food is important, getting into the specifics about the product compared to alternatives might make sense to move them towards conversion.
However, if a customer does not believe that fresh food is important for dogs or is not yet sure, then more information about the high-level benefits of fresh dog food could be most compelling. This could include case studies, scientific data, testimonials, and more proof that dogs benefit greatly from having freshly prepared food.
Key Takeaway:By the middle of the funnel, shoppers have already expressed explicit interest in the product and want to learn more. A quiz can help you understand exactly what type of content would be most applicable and helpful to driving the conversion. But what exactly is most relevant to share?
Whether it’s a case study, a landing page specific to customer problems or segments, or testimonials from customers who’ve experienced success with a product, the quiz can ensure alignment in what you share and what the customer wants to see.
The main goal at this stage of the funnel is to establish authority and move potential customers down the funnel by validating that your product can solve their specific needs.
At the top of the funnel, you captured awareness. At the middle of the funnel, you identified what problems customers are trying to solve and what they want to learn about.
Now it’s time to focus on the conversion process at the bottom of the funnel.
Bottom of Funnel: Driving Conversions
The bottom of the funnel is critical to the conversion process. By now, you’ve captured awareness, instilled trust, and formed a relationship with your audience through targeted messaging and by offering value.
Now your focus is on getting customers to add to their carts and actually complete the purchase!
Functionally, this means helping consumers understand the value of your product over that of competitors, and how your product can solve their specific needs.
For example, Helix Sleep’s quiz captures simple data points that are important to finding the right fitting mattress. It starts with general info, progresses towards questions about mattress position, feel, and relief, and ends with an actual recommendation:
The end of the quiz I’ve taken reiterates responses that I’ve highlighted—in this example, that I want a medium feel in my mattress and that I’m a side sleeper. This appears as a pop-up, but there’s a lot more to the contents of the landing page:
This is the culmination of personalization. In this example, I’m leaving the quiz more certain that the product I’m being recommended is in fact addressing the explicit needs that I’ve stated.
Sienna Naturals, a healthcare brand, uses an omnichannel approach to drive shoppers to their quiz. They collect a birth date and email address, capture more information about the shopper, and then offer a very specific product recommendation based on their quiz responses.
There are multiple entry points for the quiz. It’s on the header navigation bar…
…exit intent pop-ups…
…and their SMS messaging:
The first step of the quiz is simple. Grab the user’s contact information: name, email, and age. After completing the quiz—which asks about the current state of their hair, hair goals, and existing hair care routine, shoppers are presented with the perfect wash day ritual.
Note how this is personalized based on my quiz responses and explicitly stated needs.
The recommendation page is effective because it:
- Personalizes: The recommendation states my hair type and goals, with solutions specifically built for this profile.
- Educates: I learn about moisture retention, breakage, and split end repair, and then I learn how to fix it—with a Sienna Naturals product!
- Simplifies: Here, the brand reduces the barriers to conversion by recommending a product and making it easy to purchase with a “Shop This Kit” button. An optimized conversion process is streamlined to get customers to add to their cart and check out with as few bottlenecks as possible.
Subscription fragrance brand Scentbird has a great recommendation page.
On the homepage, every call-to-action on the Scentbird homepage drives shoppers to the quiz. Like the other subscription ecommerce brands we saw before, this quiz is imperative to helping the folks at Scentbird understand which products the customer is actually looking for on a regular basis:
The quiz asks simple questions, like what type of fragrance I’m looking for (masculine or feminine) and what types of scents I like.
There are only five questions in the quiz, but they’re enough for Scentbird to determine my scent profile.
Here is the recommendation page that appears at the end of the quiz:
The Scentbird recommendations page presents a perfect case study for a well-optimized bottom-of-funnel page. These recommendations:
- Are personalized specifically to my needs
- Address potential objections. For example, Scentbird promises that these fragrances are real, that shipping is free, and that I won’t be committed to a long-term contract.
- Give simple reasons as to why I should subscribe (which are aligned with some of the potential customer objections)
- Tell me the specific product I will receive are along with social proof in terms of other customer reviews
- Display social proof through recognizable logos of the brand that I will purchase
- Feature an effective upsell and cross-sell with the “Browse more bestsellers” section at the bottom
- Are aspirational and visual. The page showcases profile photos of ideal customers and images of fragrant fruits like figs and grapes. It’s an easy way to see what the fragrances smell like, with visual icons and high-quality product photos.
How to get started with an ecommerce quiz
Now you have a full overview of how a quiz can be a versatile tool in your marketing strategy to create a better ecommerce shopping experience.
Here are a few ways to build out your own quiz:
- Understand your goals. It’s critical to understand your goals from the outset. That way, you can build the best quiz possible while identifying which metrics you’ll use to measure your success.
- Provide value. Your customers are too busy to do things that don’t provide value for them in return. There needs to be a compelling offer to incentivize shoppers to take the quiz. This can be in the form of a personalized recommendation, a personalized product, or even a discount mailed to them once they complete the quiz. Remember, consumers are willing to share their data…if the value is too good to pass up.
- Be strategic. The quiz should not be any longer than it needs to be. Every question that you ask should provide some value to you, the customer, or ideally, both parties. Each passing question also increases the likelihood that the user will bounce and leave your funnel, so make sure that everything enhances the customer experience.
- Use the right tools. You can build a custom quiz, or use a third-party tool to save time and money while capturing the same benefits. Make sure you have a tool that’s flexible enough to let you build the exact quiz that you want, while also integrating with your existing tech stack (like Shopify, Klaviyo, etc.).
If an ecommerce quiz would work for your brand, I’ve created a quiz builder for Shopify stores called Prehook, recognized as a Shopify staff pick. Feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can help with anything quiz-related.